Trial by Declaration
I would encourage everyone to fight their ticket using a trial by declaration.
You can have a trial by declaration without ever going to the court, and if you lose, you are entitled to a new trial per Section 40902(d) of the California Vehicle Code. This gives you two chances to win.
What about traffic school if you lose your trial by declaration?
In theory, if you lose the trial by declaration, you get a trial de novo, meaning all things are new. The judge should not hold the trial by declaration against you. If the judge denies you traffic school because of the trial by declaration, point out that you are not there for that trial, but, per CVC 40902(d), a trial de novo. You can also point to Vehicle Code section 42005 and People v Wozniak which say you can still have traffic school even after a conviction.
In reality, the courts make more money if you go to traffic school. Odds are the judge will let you go to traffic school if there is any way he/she can.
A trial by declaration consists of the following steps: